Minnesota Hospital Association


March 11, 2013

MHA Newsline

In this issue:

MHA members testify against staffing legislation in House Government Operations Committee

Legislation to advance mandated staffing quotas passed the House Government Operations Committee on an 8-7 vote, with one Democrat, Rep. Zachary Dorholt of St. Cloud, opposing the bill. The bill was amended as follows:

  • The committee deleted the governor-appointed super-committee and instead added an amendment that would have the Department of Health “review evidence-based research and develop a standard for those units. In doing so, the Department of Health shall consult with the following organizations: 1) the Minnesota Hospital Association; 2) the Minnesota Nurses Association; 3) the Minnesota Licensed Practical Nurse Association; and 4) the Minnesota Medical Association.”
  • In addition, the committee added an amendment that exempts critical access hospitals from the legislation. (Note that the committee struck the delayed implementation language and exempted critical access hospitals altogether.)

Once again, we had excellent testimony from members who shared their local stories of how staffing is determined and the quality care that is delivered, including:

  • Susan Rock, clinical nursing director of the ICU, Methodist Hospital, St. Louis Park;
  • John Fossum, administrator, Ely Hospital; and
  • Linda Chmielewski, vice president of hospital operations and chief nursing officer, CentraCare Health System, St. Cloud.

Hospitals continue to be opposed to this legislation as it still takes decision-making away from local hospitals and the health care professionals who provide patient care. Please continue your outreach to legislators to convey why hospitals are opposed to this legislation. They especially need to hear from critical access hospitals how this bill will still negatively impact you. It is anticipated that the bill will go next to the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee and may also get an initial hearing on the Senate side.

If you have any questions or need more information, contact Mary Krinkie, MHA vice president of government relations, 651-659-1465 or Kristin Loncorich, MHA director of government relations, 651-603-3526. ^top of page

Sen. Klobuchar signs onto Hospital Payment Fairness Act

At the request of the MHA, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar signed onto S. 183, the Hospital Payment Fairness Act of 2013. This legislation would repeal a provision in the federal health care reform law that allowed two hospitals in Massachusetts to convert to critical access hospital status and thus significantly inflated wage indexes across the state at the expense of other states. In calendar year 2013 Minnesota hospitals will experience a $12.1 million loss as a result of this manipulation of the wage index while hospitals in Massachusetts will receive almost $257 million in additional funding. Forty-one states in total have experienced reduced funding. MHA members are encouraged to thank Sen. Klobuchar for her support of S. 183. ^top of page

Physicians urged to attest for enhanced Medicaid payment

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule implementing a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that requires states to increase Medicaid payment rates to Medicare levels in 2013 and 2014 for primary care physicians who provide certain primary care services. The rule provides 100 percent federal financing for the two-year incremental costs to states.

The rule expands the definition of qualifying primary care physicians to include not only those with a specialty designation of family medicine, general internal medicine or pediatric medicine, but also related subspecialists, such as gastroenterology, critical care and pediatric cardiology. It also allows enhanced reimbursement for certain non-physician practitioners that provide primary care services under the supervision of a qualified physician. Note that services provided by physicians in federally qualified health clinics and rural health clinics, however, do not qualify for the enhanced payment.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has established a web page with more information and for physicians to attest for the enhanced payment. Physicians attesting prior to April 1, 2013 will receive enhanced payments retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013. Physicians attesting after that date, the provider will be responsible for reprocessing eligible claims. ^top of page

Celebrate your hospitals with an MHA award

Nominations due this Friday, March 15

MHA seeks nominations for its 29th annual awards program that celebrates outstanding work by Minnesota hospitals and health systems.

Entries are due by Friday, March 15; find the entry form here: MHA Awards: Nomination Form

MHA award categories recognize excellence involving community health, workforce issues, patient care and career promotion, for example. Honors for individuals recognize trustees, volunteers, hospital executives, caregivers and public officials. Further information on the categories and judging criteria can be found on MHA’s website.

MHA will notify all entrants whether they have won in mid-April. A reception and dinner will take place Friday, May 17 at the Metropolitan Ballroom in suburban Minneapolis.

For more information, contact Sarah Bohnet, MHA communications, 651-603-3494. ^top of page

Community partnership helps low-income mental health patients

The Mental Health Drug Partnership Program, a partnership between United, St. Joseph’s and Regions Hospitals; the crisis services of Ramsey, Dakota and Washington Counties; and the Mental Health Crisis Alliance has provided more than $1 million in stop-gap medications to low-income mental health patients.

The program, which helps fill prescriptions at no cost to patients in the Twin Cities east metro area who are experiencing a mental illness and cannot afford their medications, has reduced uncompensated care and emergency hospitalizations. Lack of access to medications causes many patients with serious mental health conditions to be admitted to the emergency room. To date, the program has helped nearly 2,000 people and has helped reduce their preventable hospital admissions by 26 percent.

The program also helps patients access permanent health care coverage. Financial counselors work with patients who come to the emergency room to find coverage through various government programs. To date, it has helped more than 800 people transition out of the program into a plan that provides permanent coverage for their prescriptions. ^top of page

2 percent sequestration cut to impact hospitals in April

Medicare fee-for-services claims with dates-of-service or dates-of-discharge on or after April 1, 2013, will incur a 2 percent reduction in Medicare payment. Claims for durable medical equipment (DME), prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies, including claims under the DME Competitive Bidding Program, will be reduced by 2 percent based upon whether the date-of-service, or the start date for rental equipment or multi-day supplies, is on or after April 1, 2013.

The claims payment adjustment shall be applied to all claims after determining coinsurance, any applicable deductible, and any applicable Medicare Secondary Payment adjustments.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 requires, among other things, mandatory across-the-board reductions in federal spending, also known as sequestration. For questions, contact Joe Schindler, MHA vice president of finance, 651-659-1415. ^top of page

Conference looks at developing interprofessional teams

The Interprofessional Education Summit 2013, hosted by St. Catherine University and the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center in partnership with HealthPartners, HealthEast Care System and Fairview Health Services, brings together participants to:

  • Prepare the new clinician for interprofessional practice
  • Cultivate collaborative teams
  • Improve patient outcomes through interprofessional practice
  • Describe the urgency and changing landscape for health care practice
  • Provide examples of interprofessional education and team-based learning
  • Discuss various perspectives on the impact of interprofessional education on workforce and practice

The Summit will take place on May 1 at the St. Paul Campus of St. Catherine University. Discounted early bird registration is available through Friday, March 15. Click here to register. ^top of page